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Welfare Reform and Housing: the Northern Impact The final countdown: Are you ready? Tuesday 23rd October 2012 York Racecourse

Overview The Welfare Reform Act 2012 is a reality. The Regulations are being finalised and the reforms implemented, with some commentators referring to the impacts as a financial Tsunami. This conference is designed to enable you to meet the challenges and adopt practical solutions necessary to deal with the impacts over the coming months and years. This timely conference will provide an opportunity to hear from a range of speakers who are leading the way in dealing with the practicalities of the implementation of the reforms. Our expert speakers include representatives from housing, local authorities and tenants impacted by the changes. By attending this conference you will hear about all of the key issues including: Strategic advice and practical approaches to the welfare reforms, impacts on housing providers, and what this all means for the future of social housing provision An update from a Universal Credit Pathfinder and a Direct Payments pilot How the changes will impact upon your business: planning for the future and re-thinking your business development Promoting financial inclusion: advice, support and employment and the role of Credit Unions, to ensure customers are supported Welfare Reform from a tenants perspective - how tenants can support implementation

Who should attend? This conference is aimed at Housing Directors, Heads of Service, senior Housing Managers, local authority housing strategists, local Councillors, board members, policy makers, supported housing providers, senior housing benefit officers, and those involved in planning tenant services.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Delegates will be able to record 4 Continuing Professional Development hours for attending this conference.



Chair’s introduction and welcome Nick Atkin, Chief Executive, Halton Housing Trust


Universal credit - preparing the ground for implementation Steve Mair, Borough Treasurer, Oldham MBC The Government has set up Pathfinder areas for Universal Credit to trial its implementation. This session will explore: preparing for the implementation of Universal Credit next year what challenges they are facing an overview of progress so far


Direct payments - news so far Kevin Dodd, Chief Executive, WDH Direct Payments have been a major area of concern for housing providers. WDH have been part of the Direct Payments Pilot Project. This session will: provide an overview of the findings from the Direct Payment Project discuss the implications for housing providers


Universal credit where are we now? Ricks Llewellyn-Davies, Department of Work and Pensions This session will provide a national overview of the implementation of Universal Credit including: the implementation timetable an update on progress IT update




Professional practice sessions 1. Developing lettings policies, mutual exchange and downsizing incentives that respond to the challenges of welfare reform Nora Wade, Neighbourhoods Director, Helena Partnerships Sarah Roberts, Financial Controller, Helena Partnerships Welfare reform is challenging housing providers in many areas of their business such as the bedroom tax and increases and decreases in household size. Helena Partnerships is developing policies and initiatives to respond to these challenges. This workshop will: provide an opportunity to learn and discuss how lettings policies can ensure effective use of stock consider how to develop mutual exchange and downsizing incentives that enable maximisation of available stock

2. How to support tenants during the transitional period and beyond Amber Cairns, Welfare Benefits and Money Advice Officer, Halton Housing Trust Halton Housing Trust has developed a range of initiatives to support tenants in the new world of welfare reforms. This workshop will enable delegates to consider what support is needed and how to provide this exploring: providing advice and support effectively to tenants working with local employers to identify employment opportunities opportunities for partnership working

3. The role of credit unions Christine Moore, Chief Executive, Manchester Credit Union Credit Unions are expanding. They are responding to the need for accessible banking facilities in the context of the current economic climate and welfare reform. This session will consider: the role of Credit Unions in welfare reform how housing providers can encourage Credit Union development

4. The tenant’s perspective Jo Linney, Linney Associates Tenants from South Lakes Housing This workshop will consider welfare reform from a tenants perspective, including those perceived as not directly impacted. The session will also cover how tenants can be involved in the process of communicating changes, ensuring other tenants get timely help and assistance including: the tenants perspective on welfare reform tenants as a resource in implementing welfare reform changes




Professional practice sessions Sessions 1, 2 and 3 repeated from morning session; plus 5. What are the specific issues faced by supported housing providers, potential solutions and what to do now? Sally Parsons, Director of Client Services (North), Home Group There are a number of specific issues relating to supported housing providers, tenants and users relating to welfare reform, including housing benefit changes; a lack of affordable move-on accommodation; ‘bed’ blocking; and service charge changes. This workshop will: consider specific issues for supported housing providers explain how to address potential challenges discuss what action needs to be taken now and over the next couple of years

6. Making it fit the - size related toolkit Satty Rai, Policy Service Manager, Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) Jo Linney, Welfare Reform Consultant A toolkit has been produced by the Chartered Institute of Housing along with the NHC to aid housing providers in dealing with the size related/bedroom tax criteria. This session will: provide an overview of the toolkit explore how housing providers can maximise the toolkit




All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing in the North Inquiry into the impact of welfare reform in the North - initial findings Nick Atkin, Chief Executive, Halton Housing Trust Charlotte Harrison, Executive Director, Policy & Public Affairs, NHC The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing in the North is holding an inquiry into the impact of Welfare Reform across the North. The inquiry has been taking evidence over the summer and autumn from interested parties, before a final report is published in the autumn. The NHC is the secretariat for the APPG and supports the inquiry. This session will explore initial findings.


Panel session This session will provide an opportunity for our panel to consider a number of key questions that have arisen during the day.


Chair’s closing remarks


Close of conference

Welfare Reform and Housing: the Northern Impact The final countdown: Are you ready? Tuesday, 23rd October 2012, York Racecourse Delegate fees

Early booking discount: book before 14th September 2012

Northern Housing Consortium £219 Member


Non Member



All delegate fees are shown excluding VAT.

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Welfare Reform and Housing: the Northern Impact  

Welfare Reform and Housing: the Northern Impact